Like any job, writing about the latest news in the world of entertainment can wear on you after long enough, so you gotta appreciate the little pearls of amusement where you can get them. Personally, watching the latest solo Batman project fall apart in slow motion has been a perverse thrill over the past couple of months: star Ben Affleck was gonna direct (maybe) the film titled The Batman, then he was definitely gonna direct it, then he backpedaled a little bit, then he requested that people stop asking him about it, then he face-planted onto the sidewalk with the costly flop Live By Night, and then look at that, he wasn’t taking the director’s chair after all. The indignities kept coming, as Warner Bros. ordered sweeping rewrites to this floundering project before landing Planet of the Apes remake maestro Matt Reeves to fill the directorial vacuum.
Fake news has metastasized into one of the day’s greatest scourges. Web sites perpetuating false information have destabilized the public’s trust in what is monolithically referred to as “the media,” and what’s worse, elected officials can now use the cry of “fake news!” to discredit any factual reports that they’re not pleased with. Truth has grown into a sadly scarce quantity these days, and just about everyone agrees that the last thing we need is even more misinformation spread around just for the sake of promoting a movie, even if that movie happens to be a visually sumptuous dive into insanity.
After months of rumormongering and speculating and debating over whether Lin-Manuel Miranda has what it takes to make the jump to the big screen from Broadway, sequel Mary Poppins Returns has finally begun shooting. Disney sent out an official press release yesterday announcing that the production was officially underway at Shepperton Studios in Burbank, California, with a project release date of Christmas Day in 2018. (Nothing gets people in the mood for a movie-musical quite like the holidays, it would seem, as director Rob Marshall’s last film Into the Woods found a release date in late December as well.) And along with the news that the gears are now turning, the press release provided a full cast list and more comprehensive description of the plot as well.
“Be careful what you wish for.” While some viewers believe that the principle was fully and adequately explored by the Brendan Fraser-starring remake of Bedazzled in 2000, the new film Wish Upon suggests otherwise. On June 30, the upcoming horror film will hit theaters with a reminder that wish-granting entities are by and large not to be trusted, prone to twisting words or misconstruing intentions all to teach the user a valuable lesson about... phrasing? Or not being malevolent? The real underlying moral of the “be careful what you wish for” movies is probably something closer to “use specific and unambiguous language when forging a binding contract,” but the youth of America could probably use a lesson on legal entrapment too, so it’s really all good.
Google is a wonderful company! They manufacture high-quality products and provide a web-surfing experience unparalleled in its intuitiveness and user ease. They’ve made tracking down a specific page in the endless expanse of the Internet into a few simple clicks, drastically cutting down research time. They connect people. They make the world a better place.
Just as the nation’s mushroom-takers have begun to hit up their connections in preparation for this May’s opening of the lush, psychedelic new amusement park Pandora — The World of AVATAR, yet another attraction has appeared on the horizon. At present, Star Wars superfans can immerse themselves in the fantasy universe with the series of films, novels, spin-off films, animated television programs, various board games, and Disneyland’s popular Star Tours ride. But some diehards demand more, a fuller and more transportive experience. And Disney CEO Bob Iger has some great news for them. (And less-great news for everyone else.)
Harmony Korine’s been laying fairly low since his last feature, 2013’s neon-hued crime rave Spring Breakers. Word on the street is that his next feature should be ready for the public’s eyeballs sometime this year, with the announced title of The Trap and a tantalizing cast including Al Pacino, Benicio del Toro, Robert Pattinson, and previous muse Gucci Mane. But even as he prepares to once again loose the mayhem that is a new Korine movie on the world, the director has begun to shore up plans for his next next feature. And today brings the news that he’s landed an all-too-appropriate star for the gestating project.
We all know Craigslist as the spot to find free couches in various states of disrepair, apartment sublets when all other options have been exhausted, and an endless stream of amusing-to-disturbing personal ads. But it wasn’t too long ago that the pages of the popular listing site were the site of a crime even more nefarious than knowingly selling a queen-sized mattress full of bed bugs.
Remember that part in The Dark Knight when the Batman knock-offs all pop up in the multi-level parking garage to help the Caped Crusader dispose of some European gangsters, but they just end up getting in the way? They tell the Batman that they were just trying to help, and Wayne chides them for facing men with guns while wearing hockey pants. This may ring some bells for you, but Stephen Lawrence, the subject of the curious new documentary short Being Batman, has evidently forgotten that brief bit. (I’d guess he’s also glossed over the part in The Killing Joke wherein writer Alan Moore suggests that a man would have to be insane to dress up as a bat and fight crime at night.)
Over the course of the eight Nightmare on Elm Street films, Robert Englund made dream stalker Freddy Krueger from a slasher-film specter into a major cultural icon. His sartorially questionable striped sweater/fedora combo, the pepperoni-like complexion, the razor-blade gloves — it’s all been enshrined in the horror hall of fame for years. He officially laid his signature character to rest with 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason, turning the role over to Jackie Earle Haley for the 2010 remake, but a new project indicates that Englund and Freddy can’t get rid of one another that easily.
James Gray got played hard on his last release, the classically-minded drama The Immigrant. The film earned rapturous reviews out of its premiere at Cannes and landed a distribution deal with the power players at the Weinstein Company — who then let it languish in obscurity before quietly releasing it over a year later. The film was a triumph among critics but a huge missed opportunity from an industry perspective. Hopefully, Gray will have a better go with the less domineering Amazon Studios, who will release his new picture The Lost City of Z in April.
Ah, the Super Bowl: the one magical night each year in which the nation unites under the binding forces of domestic macrobrewed beer, buffalo chicken wings, and good ol’ American football. Everyone’s got something to enjoy at the big game, whether that’s the competition itself or, for those of us unable to enjoy sporting events due to PTSD over a childhood of getting picked last, trailers for a movie in which Scarlett Johansson plays a sexy police robot. The Super Bowl regularly doubles as the premiere for a handful of brand new previews of upcoming blockbusters, and Paramount has done us all the solid of giving us a three-day jump on the fun.
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